There are fewer than 500 of the rare Amur tigers left in the wild, according tothe Wildlife Conservation Society. The endangered species lives in remote, mountainous territory that makes it difficult to watch the tigers and monitor their natural behavior. So researchers use remotely activated camera traps to help catch the tigers as they hunt, play and move through the vast territory of Russia’s Sikhote-Alin Biosphere Reserve and Udegeiskaya Legenda National Park (two adjacent protected areas).
The new photos from the Wildlife Conservation Society show a family of five Amur tigers padding through the snow this winter, lined up from large to small like nesting dolls. Although family group behavior has been seen in Bengal tigers many times, this is the first evidence of male Amur tigers in a family setting, rather than as solitary cats, researchers said.
“We have collected hundreds of photos of tigers over the years, but this is the first time we have recorded a family together,” Svetlana Soutyrina, deputy director for scientific programs at the Sikhote-Alin Biosphere Reserve, said in a statement. “These images confirm that male Amur tigers do participate in family life, at least occasionally, and we were lucky enough to capture one such moment.”
The 21 photos show the tiger family walking in front of the same camera within 2 minutes.